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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Recipes

Bobby Flay Joins the Chicken Dance

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Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

© Ngoc Minh Ngo
Honey Mustard Chicken

Chef and TV powerhouse Bobby Flay joins spiky-haired, tenderhearted Anne Burrell for the third season of Worst Cooks in America in February, the Food Network announced this week. His no-nonsense criticism should bring the desired competition-series tears, but it’s less embarrassing to learn from his dishes in your own kitchen. Flay’s Honey Mustard Chicken recipe has a sticky, sweet-and-spicy glaze inspired by the Savannah Bee Company’s tupelo honey. Active cooking time is 20 no-pressure minutes, so there’s no reason to get weepy.

Wine

Belinda Chang Takes Over the Monkey Bar

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© kate krader
Belinda Chang is the Monkey Bar's new GM & wine director.

When last we saw Belinda Chang, she was accepting a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service at The Modern in NYC.  When last we left the Monkey Bar, also in NYC, it was celebrity-studded, with those amazing Ed Sorel murals, but no significant food or wine to speak of.

Now let's celebrate the fact that Chang is back, as the new GM and wine director at—you guessed it—the Monkey Bar! Chang has big plans for the place. "We're going to turn things around, the wine list, everything, is going to be super fun," she says. "The Monkey Bar is a place where
you feel like you're going out, like you're special; the list will feel like that, too." So she'll introduce magnums of as many wines as she can think of, including special ones, made just for the Monkey Bar, served by the glass. She'll also have wines picked out for some famous names who might show up. "For Lady Gaga, I'll serve her some crazy Italian spumante. Maybe an older Erbaluce, which is nutty and voluptuous and decadent. I think she'd love it," says Chang.

Next, look for a notable chef to take over the kitchen, sometime soon.

Winemakers

All Good Things

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You know the rest of that line, right? Well, it's with some small amount of sadness that I am saying that about this blog: It must come to an end. I've had a terrific time writing it, but we've decided that in the end it's a bit strange, for a magazine that's all about bringing together food and wine, to have separate blogs on those topics.

So, from here on out, any wine blogging that I (and Megan Krigbaum, Kristin Donnelly, and various other stalwart folks) do will instead appear in F&W's primary blog, Mouthing Off. No less wine coverage, just a different venue. See you there.

Ray Isle

Beer

Home Brew How-To

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Beer Craft book

© Rodale/design by Jessi Rymill

 

It’s hard not to geek out on beer this summer with the explosion of beer gardens and radical new micro (and nano) brews. Beer expert Christian DeBenedetti urges beer enthusiasts to take things to the next level and start brewing at home.
 
“Give a person a six pack, they'll drink for a day," says DeBenedetti. "Teach them to brew…" OK, you know the rest. These days, what was once a messy affair has gotten simpler and way more fun with the advent of smarter books and equipment. Suffice it to say that the joy of tasting your first successful home brew isn't easily put into words. If you can follow a recipe, you can make your own beer, and it's cheaper in the long run, too. If you get really good, you might even show off your skills in cool New York City bars like The Diamond, where, in addition to a Shuffleboard Biathlon, there is the Brew 'n’ Chew, a home-brew and home-cooking competition.
 
Start with the new book Beer Craft: Six Packs From Scratch by William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill. "Home brewing is easy—you probably already have most of the equipment at home," says Bostwick. "But it's also something you can geek out over and get a gallon of great beer in the process (and mess up the kitchen a little)." The genius of this book is that it takes an incredibly complex topic and boils it down to quaffable parts without dumbing down the key points of becoming a serious homebrew honcho. You've got everything from basic definitions of beer ingredients to detailed yeast strain recommendations and an incredibly helpful primer on off flavors and insights into genre-bending sour beers.
 
Once you have the book, find a local home-brew shop (some Whole Foods stores carry equipment) or order a home-brew kit and you're ready to go.

Wine

Wining and Dining in Hotel Lobbies

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Latitudes Bar

© Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts

 

The hotel lobby is probably not the most memorable experience of most trips, but the Le Méridien hotel chain is changing that with its new LM100 program,  which taps creative minds to rethink the lobby experience through food, wine and art. Each hotel will feature a bar called Latitudes—by day, a coffee bar staffed by protégés of 2002 World Barista Championship winner Fritz Storm, and by night, a wine bar with tasting classes curated by sommelier and author Linda Grabe. For the morning menu, NYC chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has developed signature breakfast dishes like espresso-steamed eggs to serve with “eye opener” juice shots like Cherry Lemon Black Pepper. Creativity reigns, right down to the details: International artists such as Sam Samore and Hisham Bharoocha have created pocket-size artworks for each key card, making them unique, collectible art pieces. Le Méridien Barcelona is the first hotel in the chain that features the new lobby program, which will begin rolling out to hotels worldwide this fall.

Cocktails

A Style-Minded Cocktail Collaboration

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sidebar

© Crafted
The Sidebar Project: cabinet and cocktail glasses


Anna and Andrew Hellman of Teroforma and Darin Montgomery and Trey Jones of Urbancase had design-savvy home mixologists in mind when they dreamed up the Sidebar Project, a liquorcabinet with its own complementary barware set. Making its debut at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, the piece is the first in a new collaborative program, Crafted. The idea behind Crafted is to have established design studios step out of their area of focus and work with Teroforma to create new concepts for the home. The Sidebar Project, was born from a conversation the four designers had about how tough it is to design when you don't know the context of where your piece will "live" as well as a mutual appreciation for a well made cocktail.  For the collaboration, Urbancase designed the retro-style cabinet with a decorative motif that reappears as the cuts in Teroforma’s cut-crystal tumblers and cocktail glasses. At ICFF, the designers gave away drink recipes specific to each Sidebar cocktail glass. Click here for more cocktail ideas.

Bars

Best New Ballpark Chefs

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At the risk of exposing a deep, dark secret of my marriage, I’m coming clean: I don’t care much about baseball. My husband would never know this by the enthusiasm with which I greet baseball season, but in reality, it’s the food that draws me to the ballpark. Many of F&W's past Best New Chefs are bona fide baseball fans, though, and they’re raising the bar for awesome stadium food around the country. In Houston, Bryan Caswell is serving his famous fresh-ground burgers at the Astros’ Minute Maid Park, and Seattle chef Ethan Stowell’s beer-marinated hot dogs are a huge hit at the Mariners’ Safeco Field. In San Francisco, Traci Des Jardins’ new Public House, next door to AT&T Park, serves Anchor Steam-battered fish and chips alongside local cask ales and Humphry Slocombe ice cream. Baseball food’s getting a serious makeover—and as far as my husband’s concerned, I’m even more of a die-hard fan.

Bars

London's Newest Spot to Toast the Royals

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© Courtesy Hawkins International PR

I would hardly consider myself a royal watcher, but if I were in London today I know exactly where I'd raise a glass to Kate and Will. Dukes hotel has long drawn crowds to its Dukes Bar, whose martini supposedly inspired Ian Fleming to create James Bond's request to have his cocktails "shaken, not stirred." The 90-room property just this week added PJ Lounge, which serves Perrier-Jouët Champagne by the bottle or glass, along with Champagne cocktails. The carpet in the room was inspired by the iconic flowers on the Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque label; the cocktail I've got my eye on is also inspired by the label: the Flower of Champagne, with rose liqueur and Lillet.  

Bars

48-Hour Houston Food Tour

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hoops

© Jen Murphy
Food and hoops in Houston.



When I visited Houston last weekend to watch the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, I knew I’d be running into some hoops stars. What I didn’t expect was that I’d be hanging with so many rock stars and chefs. Here, some highlights:

*The city of Houston organized an unbelievable line-up of free concerts in Discovery Park to coincide with the Final Four. The Kings of Leon put on a rockin' show Saturday night. Afterward, we shared a bottle of 2007 Dominus Estate Napanook with the band and reminisced about the first time we heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Nathan Followill, an F&W subscriber, also told me about his special infused-butter recipe.

*F&W Best New Chef Bryan Caswell took us to what may be the greatest Texas dive bar, the Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club, for some live music and Texas-two-step lessons. Late-night, we feasted on enchiladas and margaritas at El Real Tex-Mex Café, which Caswell just opened with Robb Walsh.

* Houston chefs Chris Shepherd of Catalan Food and Wine, Monica Pope of T’afia and Randy Evans of Haven took us on a five-hour ethnic-food crawl. Highlights included charcoal-roasted cabrito (goat) at El Hidalguense, a no-frills Mexican spot; soup dumplings at Fu Fu Café in Chinatown; and goat biryani and stir-fried okra from the great British-Indian restaurant London Sizzler.

*Fort Worth, Texas–based chef Tim Love of the Lonesome Dove and Love Shack was in town to judge the Coach’s Cook-off. He invited us to hang backstage with his friend, country musician Pat Green. Post-show, we had a nose-to-tail dinner at Feast that ended with a stellar dish of crispy roasted pork belly with red cabbage and potato cakes.

Cocktails

F&W Exclusive: Inside Atlanta's H&F Bottle Shop

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Inside H&F Bottle Shop in Atlanta.

It's not hard to figure out what Atlanta's H&F Bottle Shop will be selling when it opens soon (as in, hopefully, February 21). The store will offer boutique wines and spirits that customers love at Holeman & Finch and Restaurant Eugene, but can’t find anywhere else—items like the house-blended Finch’s gin. Look for in-house wine concierge Ashley Hall, a Kermit Lynch alum, who can do anything from choosing a bottle for a dinner party to building a wine cellar. In the spirit of an apothecary, which the space evokes, the Bottle Shop will also have old-time card catalogues holding wine information and favorite cocktail recipes—maybe chef Linton Hopkin's DCV, a Sidecar like drink you'll also find in the upcoming F&W Cocktails 2011. (You’ll also be able to buy the house-made brandied cherries that garnish the drink, as well as other condiments and H&F's amazing Bloody Mary mix.) And if you come prepared with a cocktail-inspired playlist, the staff might let you play with the albums and turntable in the back of the store.

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